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Strangely Bright: Can You Love God and Enjoy This World?

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Learn to Delight in God and in His Good Gifts

At the heart of the Christian life lies the tension of the single-minded pursuit of the glory of God and the deep enjoyment of the things that God has made. How can Christians enjoy the good things of earth? Whether it’s a delicious meal or a game night with friends, listening to jazz or watching baseball, earthly joys often see
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 25th 2020 by Crossway Books
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Michael Anderson I asked the author that question on Twitter a while before this book was released and he said, "Strangely Bright is a more accessible reworking of Thi…moreI asked the author that question on Twitter a while before this book was released and he said, "Strangely Bright is a more accessible reworking of Things of Earth (with more baseball)." And to answer your question, yes! I've read both and really enjoyed both.(less)
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Average rating 4.55  · 
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Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5. After a slightly sleepy start in chapter 1, the book soars and Rigney’s pen sparkles. Lots of counterintuitive insight and convicting application. A soul-invigorating read.
Becky Pliego
Fantastic! I have read his other book, The Things of Earth a couple of times and I loved that one tiny bit better (I love the depth of his arguments in it). BUT this one, Strangely Bright, is the one I will be giving away to friends. Such a great book.

Aaron Ventura
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is about as close to a perfect book as a man can write. A must read. Fantastic!
Misty Wilson read.fine.print
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I confess I wanted to read this first because I loved the cover! Second, a friend recommended it, and third, I THOUGHT IT WAS FICTION😂. After reading the synopsis on my hoopla audio app, I decided to go for it anyway. (Some of you know I’m usually a fiction girl😊)

I love this book. It made me think about the joys of this world and how they all point to God, how to enjoy life and always remember it’s merely a taste of heaven and always, always, Jesus is better.

I highly recommend this book. I thi
Jan 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I’ve ever read. So beautifully written. In this introductory work Rigney successfully addresses the biblical tension between total worship and devoutness to God and our enjoyment of his creational gifts. We are to enjoy this beautiful gifts because ultimately they point us back to the splendor and glory of Jesus, the creator and sustainer of all things. Read this! I commend it.
I am so excited to share my *TOP* 2020 Non-Fiction read: Strangely Bright! I loved loved LOVED this book, y'all. There is so much packed in these 128 pages.  It is readable and relatable, yet deeply profound. Here is one quote I've been thinking on since I came across it: "Our experience of the world gives us categories for knowing God and his word." So good, right? This book showed me new pathways for understanding scripture and contemplating the world around me. I seriously have not been able ...more
David Steele
“Can you love God and enjoy this world?” This question drives Joe Rigney’s newest book, Strangely Bright. Such a question often generates more heat than light as many people are accustomed to downplaying earthly things and emphasizing heavenly things. After all, the well-known hymn encourages us to:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.

The admonition seems sound and even reasonable. But Rig
Anna Schmidt
Jun 07, 2021 rated it liked it
An easy read about enjoying the good things in the world to the glory of God. Rather than seeing things we enjoy in the world as rivals for our enjoyment of God, this book explains how an integrated approach to the things of the world enables us to see how the best things in life can fuel our joy in God. It explains that because God is sovereign over all the good things he provides for us, we don't need to feel as if our love for God must take us away from the joys of the world. The content seem ...more
Jun 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“The heavens declare the glory of God... All of creation reveals who God is and what he is like, and it does so through a woven web of images and metaphors and pictures and analogies. Made things make invisible attributes visible.”

“Follow [the gifts] back to the giver. See them as declarations of his glory. Know them as images of divine things. And then turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely *bright*, in the light of his glory and
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Can you love God and enjoy this world?” Yes. A wonderful introduction and teaser for Rigney’s meatier ‘The Things of Earth.’
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
Psalm 73 says, “there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” Yet 1 Tim 6 tells us that God “richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” So are we supposed to take pleasure in God’s earthly gifts? Or should we instead deny ourselves these worldly pleasures so we can enjoy God alone? Rigney’s wonderful and wise book helps us to reconcile this apparent tension. It’s similar in many ways to another book that I heartily recommend, Gary Selby’s “Pursuing an Earthly Spirituality: CS Lewis an ...more
scott meadows
Freeing, life-giving, and tear inducing. How can we fall in love with natural revelation; see God in our everyday lives; experience Him in our vocation and gifts and friends; and still live in a Biblically orthodox way.

The chapter on suffering lead me to internally hide a desire to sob while sitting in the student center of MBTS. Read this book. It is on par with Gentle and Lowly in the way that Rigney leads us to love God and love life through the lens of Scripture.
First sentence: This little book has a simple purpose. I want to address a problem that I suspect many readers have felt, even if you’ve never named it. If you’re a faithful Christian, this problem or tension has probably haunted you, playing at the back of your mind and affecting you in subtle does a single-minded pursuit of the glory of God fit with a real and deep enjoyment of created things?

In Joe Rigney's newest book, Strangely Bright, he addresses the tension between loving God
Titus Anderson
Jan 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The central tension this short book addresses is the love of God above and beyond all else and the love of the good gifts that God has given us in our lives. The food, the family, the fun, everything that brings us joy; but does the enjoyment of these thing pose a danger to our relationship with God? Are we to perfect our love for the Lord by stifling our love for everything else?

Rigney’s approach in this book is masterful in threading the needle between these two biblical truths, and marrying t
Matthew Groen
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Richly strengthening. A sweet, short read that says things simply, but allows you to linger on each thought and translate the truths into your own life. The only negative is that it isn’t longer or deeper, but Rigney answers that by offering me “The Things of Earth”, his longer and fuller treatment of this subject. I’m add that to my list and highly recommend this book!
Gabriel Yuen
Aug 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a very digestible book and it’s not about ‘finding that balance’ between loving God and creation - but seeks to set out the perspectives we should have and conduct ourselves accordingly. Halfway through I realised I subconsciously approached this book with a selfish mindset, and I learnt that “hey, my life isn’t about me - and enjoying and suffering isn’t about me.” Have a read if you can!
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A new go-to book for enjoying the world God made. Top shelf.
Mark Christenson
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the last couple books I’ll likely make it through for the year. What do people say? Best for last? Yes. Rigney help us us to enjoy God through enjoying His gifts without any of that guilt stuff in tow. I’d recommend to you, your grandma, and your dog.
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-my-soul
Excellent quick read! Helpful teaching about enjoying God’s generous and gracious gifts.
Sanjana Dewangan
Jun 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about enjoying God in everything and everything in God.
Apr 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: office
This book functions like a condensed and focused version of Rigney’s earlier work The Things of Earth (also highly recommended). Rigney does a very good job of explaining how we can use the things that surround us in our everyday life—food, family, even baseball—to point us to the God who has graciously given those things to us. I especially appreciate his focus in the last half of the book on still holding the things of earth loosely: being willing to forgo pleasures for the sake of God, genero ...more
Amber Thiessen
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
On the verge of Black Friday, in the throes of online Christmas gift shopping, hoping that delivery will be on time for our stuff to arrive.

Every Christmas the great battle in my soul is focused on the question, “How much is too much?” It seems as the years go by, that definition shifts and changes. Our life in Africa was simple, we didn’t have much. The mud hut was small, there wasn’t room for extras and with the rats and termites, anything could easily be destroyed.

The contrast of life here in
Jesvin Jose
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful little book! Each chapter made my heart leap with joy! “Strangely Bright” by Joe Rigney is a mini masterpiece. There are such gems in each of these chapters that I was left wanting for more. Charles Simeon once said that we are to 'enjoy God in everything and everything in God'. Joe Rigney beautifully shows us how through seven short chapters.

First, he shows us (from Psalm 19) how general revelation (in nature and culture) and special revelation (in Scripture) work together to
Lauren Fee
Jul 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I can’t summarize this book better than Joe Rigney himself did in his epilogue.

“The living God made the world so that we could know him. He reveals himself to us in creation and in Scripture, in his works and in his word. Everything in creation declares His glory. Made things make his invisible attributes visible. All of God’s gifts are invitations—they display who he is and invite us to know him and delight in him. They are the beams; he is the sun. They are the streams; he is the fountain. So
Ryan Hawkins
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: joy, christian-living
Really well done! This is a great topic, especially because it is true that the “Jesus is better” kind of talk is becoming more popular these days (which is a very good thing!), but often, since people live in and enjoy God’s world, such talk can lead to people feeling the subtle confusion and guilt (or even unbelief) that Rigney addresses.

And address it I thought he did quite well. I’ll just mention two big strengths of the book.

First, the chapters were extremely well organized. None of them w
Kaycee  Owens
Sep 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book more stars. In my opinion Rigney’s writing is exceptional, his argument is thorough, clear and systematic, and the content of the book was engaging and interesting.

All good things are gifts from God and he is not threatened by them. They are “invitations from God to know and delight in him. Each joy individually, and all earthly joys together, are calling us to go further up and higher in to the life of the God of all pleasure.”

As I fix my eyes on Jesus and his gre
Brent Pinkall
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
A shorter, more easily digestible version of Rigney's The Things of Earth. His style is very pastoral in that he recognizes and addresses all of the various pitfalls that people can fall into with a topic like this. Since I've heard these arguments before, this book didn't give me any new insights, but it still served as a good reminder. God's gifts are meant to be enjoyed. ...more
Sydney Levi
May 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of the best book I’ve read this year. It’s about enjoying the Lord in earthly pleasures. Just keep your priorities in check. Keep the Lord above all, but BE FREE to live and delight in all good gifts.
Brian Parks
Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book answering the question "Can you love God and enjoy the things of this world?". The larger version of the book is "The Things of Earth". And by the way, the answer to the question is "yes!". :) ...more
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